Artboards represent the regions that can contain printable artwork. You resize and set the orientation for your artwork by choosing settings in the Artboard Options dialog box. (In Illustrator CS3 and earlier, you use the Document Setup dialog box to change the document size and orientation.)

You can use artboards as crop areas for printing or placement purposes—they work the same way as crop areas work in Illustrator CS3. Multiple artboards are useful for creating a variety of things such as multiple page PDFs, printed pages with different sizes or different elements, independent elements for websites, video storyboards, or individual items for animation in Adobe Flash or After Effects.

note: If you created crop areas in an Illustrator CS3 document, the crop areas will be converted to artboards in CS5. You may be prompted to specify how you want the crop areas to convert.

Using Artboards Panel

Using Artboards Panel
Use the new Artboards panel to name artboards and adjust settings of artboards in Illustrator CS5.
Mordy Golding

You can have 1 to 100 artboards per document depending on size. You can specify the number of artboards for a document when you first create it, and you can add and remove artboards at any time while working in a document. You can create artboards in different sizes, resize them by using the Artboard tool , and position them anywhere on the screen—even overlapping one another. Illustrator CS5 also provides options to reorder and rearrange artboards using the Artboards panel. You can also specify custom names for an artboard and set reference points for artboards.

Viewing artboards and the canvas

You can view the page boundaries in relation to an artboard by showing print tiling (View > Show Print Tiling). When print tiling is on, the printable and nonprintable areas are represented by a series of solid and dotted lines between the outermost edge of the window and the printable area of the page.

Each artboard is bound by solid lines and represents the maximum printable area. To hide the artboard boundaries, choose View > Hide Artboards. The canvas is the area outside the artboard that extends to the edge of the 220 inch square window. The canvas represents a space on which you can create, edit, and store elements of artwork before moving them onto an artboard. Objects placed onto the canvas are visible on‑screen, but they do not print.

To center an artboard and zoom it to fit the screen, click the artboard number in the status bar, located at the bottom of the application window.

Illustration window
Illustration window

A. Printable area (determined by the specified printer) B. Canvas C. Artboard 

Printing and saving artboards

All artboards in a document share the same media type format, such as Print. You can print each artboard individually, tiled, or combined into one page. If you save a multiple-artboard Illustrator document to a previous version of Illustrator, such as CS3, you can choose to save each artboard as a separate file, along with a master file that includes all artboards merged.

Illustrator CS4 allowed you to save artboards as separate files only when downsaved, but in Illustrator CS5, you can save individual artboards for current versions as well. The options to save each artboard as a separate .ai file is available in the Illustrator Options dialog box.

You can preview artboards from the print dialog box before printing them. The print settings you choose are applied to all of the artboards you selected to print.

By default all artwork is cropped to an artboard and all artboards print as individual pages. Use the Range option in the Print dialog box to print specific pages, select Ignore Artboards and specify placement options to combine all art onto a single page or tile the artwork as desired.

In Illustrator CS5, artboards in a document can automatically rotate to print to the chosen media size. Select the Auto-Rotate check box in the Print dialog box to set auto rotation for Illustrator documents. For a document created in CS5, Auto-Rotate is enabled by default.

For example, consider a document with both landscape (width is more than height) and portrait (height is more than width) media size. If you select the paper size as portrait in the Size of the Print dialog box, then the landscape artboards automatically rotate to portrait media when printing.


If Auto-Rotate is selected, you cannot change the direction of the page.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License  Twitter™ and Facebook posts are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.

Legal Notices   |   Online Privacy Policy